Pieces of cutlery history travel down through time- together

puzzleMany collectors of vintage knives also collect old knife company memorabilia- the knife boxes, letterhead, ads, catalogs, buttons, signs, letters, photographs and those type things from their favorite knife company of days gone by. These rare items are pieces of the puzzle to help us get a better glimpse into the life and times back then.

Anytime we can link two or more items directly, like a knife box marked with the our favorite knife pattern number, an old ad illustrating our favorite knife or an old invoice with our knife’s pattern number on it, we go nuts.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to purchase some knife company memorabilia from a collector- old knife boxes, billheads, invoices, postcards and the like from many of the granddaddies of American cutlery firms. I didn’t study them at the time, instead I put them in plastic sleeves and then in notebooks labeled for each of the knife companies.

Only later when I was looking up some knife history factoid did I realize two of the items directly linked. Yes, they were both from the year 1900 and also both from Case Brothers Cutlery Co., Little Valley, NY, but to me the direct link is they were both addressed to a Mr. G. C. Monchow in Marilla, NY and are about the same knife order.

casebrothersmonchow

On Oct 29, 1900, Case Brothers issued an invoice to Mr. Monchow showing the order and shipment method initialed by the salesman “JRC” (John Russell ‘Russ” Case- the eventual founder of W R Case & Son). Then on Nov. 12th, 1900, Case Brothers mailed a postcard to Mr. Monchow acknowledging his payment on that specific order.

“We acknowledge with pleasure the receipt of your favor of Nov. 10 enclosing check for $62.08 which has been placed to your credit, in payment of bill of Oct. 29, 1900 for which accept our thanks: cordially inviting your further orders, we remain, yours respectfully,” Case Bros., Cutlery Co.

Pretty cool, isn’t it? It is extremely rare for two directly related items of cutlery history both to have survived and still together after 109 years!

In case you are wondering, Mr. Monchow owned a general store in Marilla (Erie County) New York. The store opened under the name H. T. Foster & Co. in 1865. Mr. Monchow became a partner in 1874. He survived his partner and sometime between 1889 and 1900 changed its name to G. C. Monchow & Co- the name reflected on the billing invoice and receipt from Case Brothers. The store closed in 1938.

The Year 1900 Here I Come- Google & Time Travel

 

Beginner

Geek Rated: Beginner

I have this affinity for early American cutlery firm history around the years of 1900 through about 1915.

Case Brothers began making their own knives in Little Valley, NY. Then W R Case & Son opened in LVNY too.  C Platts opened its factory in Eldred, Pa. And then you have all other cutlery firms too, like NYKC, Miller Bros., and Cattaraugus, just to name a few.

The truth is I really wouldn’t want to have lived during that time, but would love to fold time and step back… just for a few days. I’d give my eye tooth to be able to handle a newly made Case Bros. pearl elephant toenail knife (or C. Platts Jumbo Swellcenter!), or walk through the Case Brothers factory.  

In case you are wondering where I am going with this- Well, I am two clicks away from being able to go back in time to that place. Google is replicating time travel. It has already provided the wormhole to ancient Rome on Google Earth. If you have never used Google Earth, it is really cool coming in from space to that spot on the earth. 

If Google can transport us to 320 A. D, then I just know it will be any day I will be able to go back a mere 108 years… I just don’t want to get Grinders Consumption while I’m there.